Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Drive Letters - inadequate and outdated?

  1. #11


    Watford
    Posts : 465
    Windows 7 x64 SP1 Home Premium/Win 8.1 in VBox


    if you run out of drive letters you can always assign the drive to a folder. This SF tutorial explains. Mount Drives or Partitions as a Folder - Windows 7 Forums

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  2. #12


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    Yep,that makes sense to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    To cut a long story short, there has always got to be a way in which drives are identifiable, and to me a simple letter is just as good as any.
    Well said
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  3. #13


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8 Consumer Preview


    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken View Post
    Well said
    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Yep,that makes sense to me.
    Have I slipped into a parallel universe here? Drive letters are extremely limited in number (only twenty-six), barely descriptive at all, and not persistent across multiple machines and installations. Drive names can be personalised ("Ketsuban's Phone" is more useful than "Removable Disk (E:)") or used to differentiate different items of the same category ("Ketsuban's Phone (Internal Storage)" vs "Ketsuban's Phone (SD Card)") and are carried across between different machines.

    Drive names are objectively a superior choice for uniquely identifying drives over drive letters.
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  4. #14


    Watford
    Posts : 465
    Windows 7 x64 SP1 Home Premium/Win 8.1 in VBox


    Quote Originally Posted by Ketsuban View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken View Post
    Well said
    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Yep,that makes sense to me.
    Have I slipped into a parallel universe here? Drive letters are extremely limited in number (only twenty-six), barely descriptive at all, and not persistent across multiple machines and installations. Drive names can be personalised ("Ketsuban's Phone" is more useful than "Removable Disk (E") or used to differentiate different items of the same category ("Ketsuban's Phone (Internal Storage)" vs "Ketsuban's Phone (SD Card)") and are carried across between different machines.

    Drive names are objectively a superior choice for uniquely identifying drives over drive letters.
    Correct as is shown in Linux but it would be difficult to get rid of in Windows. Just think of the problems with Legacy applications it would cause.
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  5. #15


    Posts : 11
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Windows 8 CP x64


    Dont get me wrong but i think 26 letters is more than enough for most of the ppl if not to every1 with some minor exceptions, i for example use 2 hdds and i have 6 drives that are more than enough (max that i used where 8 drives). As for a suggestion i think your point is somehow good but a simple drive like E: is more practical and simpler than a really long name, that's why i think is still used now.
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  6. #16


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Would the person that ran out of drive letters please speak up - and then we'll see how to fix it.

    And what is wrong naming the drives in addition to the letter - rather than e.g. 'New Volume' for each partition.
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  7. #17


    North Wales
    Posts : 449
    Win7 64-bit and Win8 32-bit in VM (+ others in VM)


    - I at least got close (ONCE!) - but I can;t remember for the life of me why (too much beer under the belt at the time, I suspect). I have vague memories of having to search for a free drive letter, and it taking a looong time
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  8. #18


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8 Consumer Preview


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Would the person that ran out of drive letters please speak up - and then we'll see how to fix it.
    Why are you assuming the problem here is "people are running out of drive letters" rather than "drive letters suck"?

    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    And what is wrong naming the drives in addition to the letter - rather than e.g. 'New Volume' for each partition.
    Because the devices are still indexed by drive letter which removes the advantage of extensibility and adds a pointless layer of indirection.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #19


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
    if you run out of drive letters you can always assign the drive to a folder. This SF tutorial explains.
    Mount Drives or Partitions as a Folder - Windows 7 Forums

    That's ok if you are just using the partition as extended storage, it's no use if you need to identify it as a drive, or you already have paths mapped to folders on the volume.

    It's a backwards step (to manually reassign a path instead of a mounted drive) if you use the facility introduced in Windows 8 to rapidly mount an ISO file or a VHD by double-clicking it. Windows gives the mount the next available drive letter - until you get to z: + 1 when windows gets confused, and after an age decides it cannot mount the media.


    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Yep,that makes sense to me.




    Quote Originally Posted by Shuriken View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    To cut a long story short, there has always got to be a way in which drives are identifiable, and to me a simple letter is just as good as any.

    Well said

    The trouble is that the "simple letter" changes in a multibooting system. In fact several and all of the drive letters and their order can change if you have different operating systems on the same machine when the booted system takes the "c:\ drive".

    Now, many people have not only Windows 7 on one partition, but Windows 8 on another. Perhaps they have 64 and 32-bit versions, and legacy Vista and XP disks that they boot from as well, since virtualization isn't always as workable as it would be in an ideal world. They also plug in USB drives, and depending which OS they booted from, and which removable storage they have, the same drive letters refer to totally different drives disks and partitions. There is network storage and cloud storage too.

    I work a lot with embedded windows, and each needs to boot from its own partition.

    Here below I compare DiskPart volume information from 2 different Windows systems running on the same physical machine. Note that the Drive letter assignment has no logical pattern, whereas the volume listings remain in the same order at least, even if out of alignment by virtue of an extra (virtual) dvd-rom drive in the windows 7 setup.
    (Note that the Windows 7 drive has been assigned a drive letter of B: in the Windows 8 listing. This is because the Windows 8 installation hid the system drive, which is on the same volume as the Windows 7 boot volume, and I assigned the drive letter of the unused second floppy drive.)

    Code:
    This is from volume 13 label windows8 c: drive 
    
    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.2.8250]
    (c) 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
    
    
    C:\windows\system32>diskpart
    
    
    Microsoft DiskPart version 6.2.8250
    
    
    Copyright (C) 1999-2012 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: DEF
    
    
    DISKPART> list volume
    
    
      Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
      ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
      Volume 0     P                       DVD-ROM         0 B  No Media
      Volume 1     B   Win7Boot     NTFS   Partition     73 GB  Healthy    System
      Volume 2     N   Win7x86      NTFS   Partition     72 GB  Healthy
      Volume 3     O   tc180        NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 4     E   swap         NTFS   Partition   5000 MB  Healthy    Pagefile
      Volume 5     F   wes64tPC     NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 6     G   wes180       NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 7     H   EMB8         NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 8     I   W8-64        NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 9     J   TC64365      NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 10    K   vanillapod   NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 11    L   win2kas      NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 12    M   NewTPC       NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 13    C   windows8     NTFS   Partition     15 GB  Healthy    Boot
      Volume 14    D   winXPBoot    NTFS   Partition     74 GB  Healthy
    
    
    
    
    DISKPART> sel disk 0
    
    
    Disk 0 is now the selected disk.
    
    
    DISKPART> list part
    
    
      Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
      -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
      Partition 1    Primary             73 GB    31 KB
      Partition 2    Primary             72 GB    73 GB
      Partition 3    Primary             14 GB   146 GB
      Partition 0    Extended           137 GB   160 GB
      Partition 4    Logical           5000 MB   160 GB
      Partition 5    Logical             14 GB   165 GB
      Partition 6    Logical             14 GB   180 GB
      Partition 7    Logical             14 GB   194 GB
      Partition 8    Logical             14 GB   209 GB
      Partition 9    Logical             14 GB   224 GB
      Partition 10   Logical             14 GB   238 GB
      Partition 11   Logical             14 GB   253 GB
      Partition 12   Logical             14 GB   268 GB
      Partition 13   Logical             15 GB   282 GB
    
    
    DISKPART>
    
    
    This is from volume 2 label Win7Boot c: drive 
    
    
    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    
    
    C:\windows\system32>diskpart
    
    
    Microsoft DiskPart version 6.1.7601
    Copyright (C) 1999-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
    On computer: DEF
    
    
    DISKPART> list vol
    
    
      Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
      ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
      Volume 0     F                       DVD-ROM         0 B  No Media
      Volume 1     R                       DVD-ROM         0 B  No Media
      Volume 2     C   Win7Boot     NTFS   Partition     73 GB  Healthy    System
      Volume 3     H   Win7x86      NTFS   Partition     72 GB  Healthy
      Volume 4     G   tc180        NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 5     D   swap         NTFS   Partition   5000 MB  Healthy    Pagefile
      Volume 6     I   wes64tPC     NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 7     J   wes180       NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 8     K   EMB8         NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 9     L   W8-64        NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 10    M   TC64365      NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 11    N   vanillapod   NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 12    O   win2kas      NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 13    P   NewTPC       NTFS   Partition     14 GB  Healthy
      Volume 14    Q   windows8     NTFS   Partition     15 GB  Healthy
      Volume 15    E   winXPBoot    NTFS   Partition     74 GB  Healthy
    
    
    DISKPART> sel disk 0
    
    
    Disk 0 is now the selected disk.
    
    
    DISKPART> list part
    
    
      Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
      -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
      Partition 1    Primary             73 GB    31 KB
      Partition 2    Primary             72 GB    73 GB
      Partition 3    Primary             14 GB   146 GB
      Partition 0    Extended           137 GB   160 GB
      Partition 4    Logical           5000 MB   160 GB
      Partition 5    Logical             14 GB   165 GB
      Partition 6    Logical             14 GB   180 GB
      Partition 7    Logical             14 GB   194 GB
      Partition 8    Logical             14 GB   209 GB
      Partition 9    Logical             14 GB   224 GB
      Partition 10   Logical             14 GB   238 GB
      Partition 11   Logical             14 GB   253 GB
      Partition 12   Logical             14 GB   268 GB
      Partition 13   Logical             15 GB   282 GB
    
    
    DISKPART>
    The partition listings are identical. In order to preserve Unique references to each volume (and thus the physical location of the required data) only 3 pieces of information are needed:

    Media type - Floppy, Hard, Optical etc
    the disk identifier - 0, 1, 2 etc
    the partition identifier - 0, 1, 2, etc

    It's trivial for a PC to use any and all of this information to run the system on. It does not need to be limited to 26 drives though.

    Once, PC users were limited to 2 1.2 MB 5.25 inch floppy disks. An instruction would appear on screen:

    "Insert disk in drive B"

    and then MS-DOS would write files with 8.3 length filenames in directories with usually 8.0 length names.

    With Windows 95, long filenames got rid of the concept of 8.3 length limited filenames for most PC Users. It's high time we dumped the C: drive letter assignment too, and Windows 8 could be the paradigm-shifting version of Windows to do it.
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  10. #20


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Quote Originally Posted by Ketsuban View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Would the person that ran out of drive letters please speak up - and then we'll see how to fix it.
    Why are you assuming the problem here is "people are running out of drive letters" rather than "drive letters suck"?

    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    And what is wrong naming the drives in addition to the letter - rather than e.g. 'New Volume' for each partition.
    Because the devices are still indexed by drive letter which removes the advantage of extensibility and adds a pointless layer of indirection.
    That's a lot of motherhood with no practical purpose.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Drive Letters - inadequate and outdated?
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